‘Don’t slap your own faces,’ law minister tells opposition over quorum

The question of enough quorum in the Dewan Rakyat has been frequently raised.

PETALING JAYA: De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong today accused the opposition bench of nitpicking over the lack of quorum in Parliament’s lower house today, saying the opposition MPs themselves are nowhere to be seen.

At 10am, there were 24 MPs in the chamber, two short of the required number at any one time.

BN’s Lipis MP Abdul Rahman Mohamad was the first to alert the house over the lack of reps in the chamber today after a deputy minister finished reading out his answer during Question Time.

Parliamentary proceedings were then stalled temporarily and restarted after four other MPs joined in.

“At the material time this issue of quorum was raised, the opposition bloc itself was close to empty.

“In the evening, I had in fact personally observed several opposition MPs leaving the Dewan Rakyat just as the issue of quorum was raised.

“At that point, there were no other MPs from the opposition bloc in the Dewan Rakyat, save for the opposition MP who raised the issue of quorum,” Liew, who is also Batu Sapi MP, said in a statement.

He said the opposition had brought up the quorum issue again this evening, saying the government bench was short of one MP, with the complainant being the sole opposition member on the bench at that time.

Liew said hence, the opposition MPs should “cease pointing fingers” at the government benches, as it was as good as “slapping their own faces”.

“It must be stated and clarified that at all times the Dewan Rakyat is in session, there is a sufficient number of MPs from the government within the parliamentary premises, be it in the chamber or the lounge.”

The issue of quorum is not new. Last month, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said warning letters were sent to absent MPs, while stating that some were away on official duty and some within the parliament complex.

He said these MPs could be easily recalled, adding the issue of quorum was sometimes raised for political reasons.